With the ever-expanding pool of information, empowering this information in the form of higher education has now become the prime motto of universities. With the passage of time, business schools have become an expression of global expansion of management education.
With so many business schools competing and claiming to impart quality education, the majority of research and real problem-solving skills have been compromised to mediocrity.
In the constantly changing business dynamics, education sometimes falls behind in keeping pace with the speed of change. To ensure, a strong bridge between the skill gap and the response time required to change is the gap which is expected to be filled by higher education.
Business schools are increasingly focusing on becoming industry relevant and work today with a single point focus on making a student industry ready from day one.
While many of the top paid CEOs had a degree in something other than Business, a business degree has its benefits.
A research was conducted by Chartered Association of Business Schools to predict how management education in business schools will culminate in the future.
A panel of 39 experts from the world of business management (inclusions were presidents, deans, associate dean, directors at business schools, as well as representatives from the field of business, professional organizations, and media) were called upon.
Open-ended interviews were conducted with each of the experts. Each of the panelists was asked the best, worst and the foreseeable future cases. With that survey been conducted, some generic facts were highlighted.
The best case scenarios bought out some interesting viewpoints.
The ambitious scenario states the quest to stimulate and drive modernism in management education.
The experts mentioned that modernization of education pattern should increase the value offered to the management trainees.
It was also noted that inescapable restructuring in the way management studies are being divulged should be reformed. Increasing value simply amounts to b-schools nurturing and producing sharp managers who hold competency in solving managerial problems.
To conclude the best case scenario, the following four activities should be re-engineered to improve the future of a b-school:
- constant improvements in pedagogics;
- understanding the purpose of management studies;
- maintaining highest standard of management faculty;
- and inclining more towards a practical approach in scenarios.
Shedding light on the worst case scenario, it has been found that stagnation is the culprit as it refuses to adapt or change in times of shape-shifting of business strategies. Due to the failure to adapt or change it has a direct impact on the stakeholders as it lacks value addition to the management studies and falls behind competition as per industry standards.
In order to keep the business schools thriving in a foreseeable future, the experts concluded that stagnation should be destroyed and adaptability introduced as the new motto for all the b-schools.
Hence, in order to move forward, the business schools must go back and discover the core fundamental purpose of imparting management studies in the first place.
A combination of academia plus practical exposure to the industry creates a dual system of education which helps in achieving the above objective. There are various methods to bring in industry relevance in the business school curriculum. Few ideas merit consideration;
- Business Plan Assignments
- Industrial visits
- Industry mentors
- Live projects and assignments
Business schools have always played a major part in shaping the future of management graduates through apprenticeship. This has been an important aspect as the trainees climb the corporate ladder and keep upgrading their skills.
New and upcoming standards should be mandatorily introduced. To ensure a high-quality apprenticeship, the business schools must act as shapers, educators, ambassadors, and deliverers. Business schools who possess and persevere these roles to the hilt will have well-established relationships with the business world that will prove beneficial in the future.
New standards and ideas should be based on the hands-on knowledge and teachings by expertize of that requisite field. High levels of expertise mean that the business schools need to engage more in order to make sure that these parameters are met.
The nature of apprenticeship has been transformed dramatically over time.
It means that it has far reached in every occupation and has steadily risen to the postgraduate levels of skills. Such high degree of involvement of apprenticeship means that higher education system in b-schools needs to adapt and nurture the process of apprenticeship in all cases.
Business Plan Assignments
Business involves risk taking. Whoever is capable of undertaking this risk will be successful. But the risk factors can even further be lowered through a proper execution of a business plan. A business plan basically comprises of a strategy devised for future plan of action for a business venture.
Business schools should constantly set up innovative methods where students can use their creativity in developing a business plan assignment. A business plan assignment should be such that it consists of solid executive summary that grabs the attention of a potential investor or a person just interested in knowing more about the company.
Following the executive summary, the business plan should consist of a business description.
The management trainee working on the business plan assignment should be able to present a concise explanation as to what the organization does, what are the offerings that are there and why others will buy those offerings.
Business plan assignments should be incorporated into a strong mission statement that describes the very foundation of your business and who the services or products are targeted to.
These business plans should also consists of the product or service description, including:
- what makes your product or service unique and why you should acquire them;
- what is the positioning of your business in the market;
- pricing strategies;
- targeted customer profile;
- competing business organizations;
- contingency plan;
- sales and marketing;
- sales strategy;
- advertising and promotion;
Management schools cannot stress enough of how critical writing a business plan is. Through such assignments it makes the management trainee think from all aspects and angles incorporating the profits and risks involved in starting out a business.
Business plan assignments could also be a very good way to device future contingency plans in case of the business not succeeding.
Business schools should mentor students to write out crisp and detailed outline of the plans so that it not only grabs the attention of a potential reader but also entices them to read the whole business plan.
In this world, individual, cultural, economic, and societal traits have given rise to a need to approach higher education in a different manner.
Increasing international exposure in the advent of globalization has prompted in the creation of an innovative knowledge base. Meaning that education can no longer be restricted only to the pages of the books but rather to go out in the real world through a process such as industrial visits.
Measuring the quality of higher education is of utmost importance. Hence b-schools, to suffice the future generations of managers must provide them with practical skills.
Industrial visits, if executed in the right manner, will not only set a parameter of measured learning by a single management trainee. But will also sum up the overall experiences that were defined during the visit through means of a meaningful performance indicator.
B-schools need to look forward to start working energetically towards establishing mentoring programs.
Mentoring has always been a proven track record in increasing knowledge transfer and improving interpersonal relationships between the mentees and the mentors. B-schools having robust mentoring programs will improve retaining students, and increase chances of job placements.
Thoughtful forecasting and preparation of an impactful mentoring program by business schools will enhance the prospects of individuals aspiring success in the management world.
Certain steps mentioned will help business schools be the best industry mentors amongst its peers. Designing a sturdy program that is crisp and hits the desired goal. Just designing a good mentoring program isn’t good enough. It should be actively promoted through mentor recruitments and training.
Business schools should ensure that a good amount of connecting between the mentees and mentors should be established. Offering self-matched programs where mentees and mentors can connect well because of common expertize should be the aim of b-schools. Finally, measuring your outcome of program mentoring. The measuring can be done using three parameters; individual learning, the overall program health, and the mentor connectivity.
Live projects and assignments
Live projects and assignments can be a great way for a business management student to learn about the finer nuances of a real-life scenario.
Live projects allow students to explore the practical areas of businesses. Entrepreneurial skills get sharpened while working with assignments which assists the students to take pragmatic decisions in the event of an unexpected situation.
Training and development in becoming leaders need to be applied outside the training classrooms which will help in better understanding of the subject. Formally speaking, assignments help them improve their strategic perspective on how day to day business operations need to be carried out.
But, on an informal note, the live projects help students open up their thought process by getting alternate solutions and also influencing other people to try out the solutions. B-schools must ensure that such kind of training is frequently been done through the curriculum charted.
Of all the above techniques the most comprehensive one is the business plan assignment.
Today, many b-schools have started assigning higher weightage in the final assessment of the student, when it comes to business plan assignment. Hoping that the upcoming lot would be far sharper and effective in business skills owing to widespread use of industry-relevant teaching techniques discussed above.
Whatever curriculum may be adopted in the business schools, one thing should be made certain: that the business schools should stay committed to fight off stagnation.
History has been the greatest witness to change. If schools refuse to bring in a change in the way they approach management studies, they might die a natural death and history is unkind to such events. Taking this judgment into account, the future of higher education in business schools will definitely be a challenging one.
About The Author
Nishant Sinha is the co-founder of Transtutors, an online homework help platform for students of Graduation and Post-Graduation level. It has been his passion and vision to help the students across the globe that he along with his co-founder started with this venture.